A record-setting performance moved Utah State one step closer to playing for the Mountain West Conference championship.
The 14th-ranked Aggies totaled 804 yards of offense and 33 first downs on their way to a 62-24 win over San Jose State on Saturday. They broke a school record for yardage and became just the 17th team in NCAA history to gain at least 800 total yards in a game.
It gave Utah State (9-1, 6-0 MW) a ninth straight victory. The Aggies are the only team undefeated in Mountain West play.
“We want to be on a collision course for the Mountain West championship,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said. “Our goals are consistent around here. I’ve said that since when I got hired.”
Jordan Love threw for a career-high 491 yards and five touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing in just three quarters to lead the Aggies. Love’s 491 passing yards were the third-highest single game total for a Utah State quarterback.
Darwin Thompson had 140 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries along with 115 yards and a pair of scores on four receptions for the Aggies.
Utah State was equally impressive on the other side of the ball. The Aggies held San Jose State to 56 rushing yards and forced three turnovers.
“We literally talked about things we wanted to do in January and we’re watching it happen now,” senior safety Jontrell Rocquemore said. “It’s probably one of the best feelings I can describe to be able to do it.”
Josh Love threw for 210 yards and a touchdown, along with a pair of interceptions, to lead San Jose State. Tre Walker added a career-high 209 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches for the Spartans (1-9, 1-5 MW), who lost their second straight game.
Utah State shook off a slow start and quickly buried San Jose State before halftime. The Aggies piled up 453 total yards and 22 first downs in the first half. Jordan Love passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns before halftime.
“Their quarterback is brilliant,” Spartans coach Brent Brennan said. “Obviously, his ability to deliver the ball accurately while under duress is amazing.”
The Spartans initially seized a 7-0 lead after capitalizing on a special-teams mistake by the Aggies. Utah State punter Taylor Hintze tried to get off a punt after fielding a low snap. The ball sailed right into the arms of Tre Jenkins at the line of scrimmage, and Jenkins returned the punt 41 yards for a touchdown.
Utah State evened the score on a 42-yard catch by Jordan Nathan that capped off the team’s second drive. Then, in the second quarter, the Aggies took over.
Gerold Bright took a screen pass and raced 24 yards to break a 10-10 tie in the first of four consecutive drives that ended in touchdowns. Jordan Love punched one in on a 1-yard keeper. Bright got his second touchdown on a 29-yard run that Tipa Galeai set up when he tipped a pass to himself for an interception at the Spartans’ 29. Thompson finished it off by hauling in a 7-yard pass from Love to give USU a 38-10 halftime lead.
Love threw his final two touchdown passes in the third quarter — a 37-yard strike to Jalen Greene and an 88-yarder to Thompson — to extend Utah State’s lead to 59-17 with 4:33 left in the quarter.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOK
Utah State’s 2018 team will go down in school history as fielding the most potent offense. The Aggies shattered multiple school records on Saturday.
Besides getting 804 total yards — the third most by an FBS team this season — Utah State also set season records for points and touchdowns. The Aggies have totaled 513 points this season, eclipsing the previous high mark of 454 points set in 2012. Their 68 touchdowns blew past the prior record of 60, set in 2011.
The Aggies believe they are capable of more.
“You ask our players and they’ll tell you we haven’t played our most complete game yet,” Wells said.
San Jose State: A promising start soon faded for the Spartans. San Jose State gave up multiple big plays to allow the Aggies to pull away. There’s plenty of work for coach Brent Brennan to do on both sides of the ball to make the Spartans competitive.
Utah State: Few defenses are equipped to handle Utah State’s speed and efficiency. Utah State had eight scoring drives that lasted less than three minutes and three that took less than a minute off the clock.
Utah State should continue to climb in the AP Top 25 after a record-setting performance and could finally crack the Top 25 in the CFP Poll on Tuesday. It would position the Aggies for a potential New Year’s Six Bowl if they win out and UCF stumbles.
San Jose State: Hosts Nevada next Saturday.
Utah State: At Colorado State next Saturday
Source: The Associated Press